March 04, 2013. bepress is pleased to announce a new milestone in the movement toward open-access legal scholarship: Over 100 law reviews and journals are now archiving and publishing through Digital Commons, bepress's hosted institutional repository platform. This includes many of the leading U.S. law reviews—such as the California Law Review and the Duke Law Journal—who make their current issues and complete archives freely available online through their law schools' Digital Commons repositories. The effort to make all legal scholarship freely and openly accessible has rapidly gained steam since 2008, when law library directors from 12 top law schools authored the Durham Statement, calling on all law reviews and journals to begin publishing in "stable, open, digital formats." The statement now has over 75 signatories.
According to Nick Szydlowski, Digital Services & Institutional Repository Librarian at Boston College Law School, supporting the institution's commitment to open-access legal scholarship was a primary motivator for bringing BC's five law reviews into Digital Commons. Adding these publications to Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School has enabled them to provide stable, open, and comprehensive access to the journals' complete archives. The Boston College Law Review, for example, has 250 issues, dating back to 1959—far more content than the Review's website can accommodate, but all easily served up to a worldwide audience through the repository.
The download numbers tell an important part of the story, too. Current articles and back issues alike typically see download numbers through Digital Commons that surpass the number of print subscribers, with many articles garnering increasing interest years after their initial publication. For example, a 2004 Fordham Law Review article on gun registration laws drew over 4,000 downloads in the month of January 2013, providing readers with a legal, historical perspective on a matter of current and heated political debate.
In addition to making content discoverable on the open web, Digital Commons makes it easy to feed OAI-compliant, item-level records to library discovery platforms such as WorldCat and EBSCO, creating multiple paths to discovery for specialized researchers as well as a more general audience. And with planned additions from the law schools at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and others in 2013, the body of legal scholarship available through the Digital Commons Law Network keeps growing.
A full listing of law reviews and journals publishing through Digital Commons is available at http://digitalcommons.bepress.com/online-journals-law.
Founded by professors in 1999, bepress exists to serve academia. We deliver scholarly communications and publishing services for academic institutions, empowering their communities to showcase and share their works for maximum impact. Through our services bepress seeks to link communities of scholars, listen to their needs, and provide solutions to support emerging academic missions and goals.
Bepress is the provider of Digital Commons, the leading hosted institutional repository software platform. Digital Commons is a suite of tools and services that enables institutions to manage, display, and publish scholarship to the web in a beautiful, highly visible showcase. Digital Commons offers the features of a traditional IR as well as professional-grade publishing software, management tools, and individual faculty and researcher pages to promote and disseminate scholarship and serve academia.
With Digital Commons, universities can collect, preserve, and make visible all of their intellectual output, including pre-prints, working papers, journal articles, dissertations, master's theses, conference proceedings, presentations, creative works, and a wide variety of other content types.